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School Children Try De-Mining in South Lebanon

School Children Try De-Mining in South Lebanon
A hand-held metal detector hovers a few centimetres above the ground, emanating a high pitched electronic tone as its user gingerly scans the ground for mines. Suddenly the pitch of the sound escalates, alerting the handler to a metal object below.
Typically this metal detector is used by UNIFIL Spanish battalion’s demining unit, but today it is being tested by local high school students as part of a mine awareness outreach activity organized by UNIFIL in close coordination with Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). 

As he watches the next young person take their turn in scanning the ground with the device, Maj Ruiz de Ońa from UNIFIL’s Spanish Battalion comments, "Today we have a visit of two schools from the area and it's important for us because we want to show how UNIFIL is working for a better Lebanon and to show the population the danger of mines and unexploded ordinance. It's a real danger for children.” 

In a nearby location his colleagues from the Engineering Unit have set up a physical exhibition of all of the various types of unexploded ordnances that have been found by their team in recent years. The range and style of these dangerous devices is diverse and scary. In many instances their danger is masked by a simple and innocuous design. As he holds up a small green cube, Lt. Col. Alejo says, “We have a mine which is a little box, so it's like a toy for children. It's very important for them to know that this could even kill them. That's why we are going to do the lesson for them. Furthermore we have some parts of projectiles. Some of these don't have an explosive charge but they have phosphorus and it's very dangerous for everyone, this component. It's very important for them to know that they don't have to touch. It's forbidden for them to touch this." 

Groups of students arrive and in turn Lt. Col. Alejo patiently explains the various types of mines and the risks they carry. Fortunately the exhibition hits home and after his talk Jana Hajali, a student from a local school shares what she has learned about mines: "They told us that they come in different sizes and colours and the main warning they gave us was not to touch anything if we find them because we're very prone to finding them. And to call an adult, because they know the types of authorities they need to call.”

Read more in English (here) and in Arabic (here).
Watch the video in English (here) and in Arabic (here).